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COP27: technologies addressing the fight against climate change – solar steam

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As the COP27 conference draws to a close, the final article in our series on clients tackling the climate change crisis focuses on a US company that designs, manufactures and installs solar steam generators for industry worldwide.

GlassPoint designs and provides systems for producing solar steam, particularly for use in enhanced oil recovery (EOR).  In GlassPoint’s systems, large mirrors are suspended within enclosed glasshouses. The mirrors focus the sun’s rays onto pipes carrying water, heating the water and converting it into high pressure steam.

Placing the mirrors within enclosed glasshouses leads to many benefits.  The mirrors are protected from the elements, and in particular from strong winds. It is also far easier to keep the surfaces of the mirrors clean (the surfaces of the glasshouses are cleaned unobtrusively by dedicated robots).

GlassPoint specialises in very large-scale projects, for instance the Ma’aden Solar 1 project in Saudi Arabia, which will be the world’s largest solar process heat plant.

Forresters has protected various aspects of GlassPoint’s technology with patents, including concentrating solar power using glasshouses, thermal energy storage systems and an oilfield application of solar energy collection.

Much effort is, rightly, being invested in reducing the use of fossil fuels. However, at least in the short and medium term, some use of fossil fuels is unavoidable. The use of GlassPoint’s solar steam systems greatly reduces the environmental impact of oil production. The Ma’aden Solar 1 project will reduce overall carbon emissions by nearly 10% – 600,000 tons per year, which is the equivalent of taking nearly 130,000 cars off the road.

GlassPoint’s technology therefore leads to a very significant reduction in climate-altering emissions.